Among the new slates in the running for TRUSU governance positions for the 2019/2020 terms is one accurately called “For the Lulz” (FTL). FTL is fielding candidates in five positions: visible minority representative, entertainment representative, vice president internal, international representative and vice president equity and their candidates are an interesting group.
The colourful posters of FTL succinctly sum up the mission of the party, which seems to be both satirical and outright insane. Earl Balageo, the candidate for visible minorities representative’s poster features him surfing on an alligator, while the candidate for VP equity Zach Poba-Nzaou rides the back of a grizzly bear, pointing off into the future. Each poster features a disclaimer that “images may contain modifications.”
These posters also feature the fleshed out vision for the slate’s agenda, including: spontaneous fire drill, skytrain from science building to lot N, make clocktower higher, make lot N closer, free parking (hunger games style), more parking less new buildings, $20 for blocking hallways to chat and free tuition. Oh and “cheese,” followed up with “can’t stress this enough… more cheese.”
The candidates of For the Lulz really bring the party into shape, however.
“Originally when we started we thought that TRUSU would reimburse for any cost related to the campaign,” stated Poba-Nzaou. “When we found out that this was not true we were $150 in debt. One of our candidates even took a second mortgage on their house to afford the posters.”
“Once we sank that much money into the process we kind of had to make it real,” added Balageo.
When pressed about some of the biggest issues with TRU, entertainment rep. candidate Henry Albuquerque voiced his concerns around some issues on campus.
“We have found the single biggest threat to the university and its students are those people that think it’s a good idea to gather into groups of seventeen and stand in the middle of the hallway talking to each other,” he said. “It’s an inconvenience for anyone trying to get to class. 60 per cent of TRUSU’s budget should be relocated into crowd control water cannons in order to disperse such groups.”
Other members of the slate voiced appreciation and agreement with the solution.
So jokes aside, what would For the Lulz do if they won their elected seats?
“I believe that by us winning anything, TRU would fall into chaos. You know that one scene in Lord of the Rings where Frodo gets consumed by the power of the ring?” asked Poba-Nzaou. “Well, this would be worse. Once we are in a position of power we would probably start small. To start, we would prohibit the use of the word ‘Gucci’ on campus. Students would no longer be able to say things such as ‘that test was Gucci’ or ‘I feel Gucci.’ After we get an understanding of the amount of power we hold, no one would be able to stop us.”
When asked what is seriously on the agenda for the slate, the candidates unanimously voiced that, “[We] don’t know. We thought we would have been expelled from TRU by now.”
But is the joking mantra born of real concerns with the university? Many of the agenda items on their posters are issues frequently cited by students as negatively impacting the university experience (parking, tuition and fees, campus housing and food options). Balageo believes that although the party is mostly seen as a meme, they’re both satirical and very real.
“Although we are known as a ‘satire’ party and our posters contain a bunch of different agenda items, I think it’s important that the students reading this understand something about our campaign. Our party might be “For the Lulz” but don’t let the name fool you. We’re dead serious. All members on this slate have unanimously agreed on this one agenda item.”
That one item?
“If elected we would relocate HOL into Old Main. That’s right, the only possible way to get a Tim Hortons into Old Main would be to physically relocate HOL into it.”
Albuquerque added that “other parties such as the [Progressive Student Advocates] would argue that this is absurd or that TRUSU doesn’t have enough money for such a project, but what they don’t know is that our campaign has been contacted by a Nigerian prince via email who has around $1.5 million worth of exotic jewels which we could sell to pay for the relocation. As soon as the down payment of $5,000 we sent him clears we will be ready to start the project.”
Looking past the jokes, For the Lulz are a group of students who seem to share a dissatisfaction with TRU with many other students. Win or lose, FTL has resonated with many students who are tired of TRUSU politics and the TRU quirks we put up with year round.